Early winter walks

From two mornings of Lesley’s walks on Long Beach, with Joey.

 

The house from Roland and Angie’s block, walking up the track Roland cleared up and around to the back ti-trees.

 

The ti-trees are in flower–they are diecious, male trees and female trees–here is a boy.

 

 

 

Coming into the country, Colorado

Lesley has been visiting Colorado, to catch up with the arrival of Harry, and of course with Elle, Charles, and Rafa. It’s coming into the North American summer, with lots of activities, including baseball, a traditional American activity which I always appreciated. The emergence of a pressure group–boys and dogs–is well under way.

 

 

. . .and back home, the Silver Wattle down at the shed is out:

 

Wombat 1, Wells 0

This has been an ongoing debate all summer. The native grasses that Lesley has planted and watered around the house–some of them relatively rare and difficult to grow–turn out to include some which are like chocolate for wombats.  They have had no difficulty getting through the fence–they are like little tanks and can dig. Putting rocks and timber in the way doesn’t stop them.

As the summer bush feed has disappeared with the heat and lack of rain (very dry here) the garden has become increasingly attractive to the wombat tribe. With the help of Roland and the boys we put in an outside rail low to the ground, but as you can see here it hasn’t deterred them–this is probably the fiercest of the various strategies, clearly by a determined and annoyed wombat who moved both the stump and the rock aside and then dug in.

The solutions seem to be (1) dig mesh into the ground off the bottom rail–but their burrows run down to a considerable depth, sometimes to underground water, so I’m thinking that is probably not going to work; or (2) accept they are going to eat some of the grasses which, one hopes, are adapted to it (or maybe not); or (3) plant only grasses wombats don’t like–although that theory hasn’t been tested and at a pinch they may like them all.

On the other hand we like wombats and are happy they are about.

 

House finally painted!

Well, here it is–finally finished and painted! Theo the farrier/handyman/painter/ everything did a great job. The first part of the work was actually putting the building finish in place–sealing all the gaps in the render, re-sealing some of the work that had been done, washing everything down, and so on. Then two coats of paint went on. It is special paint designed specifically for concrete render, very thick and hard to put on first (easier with the second coat) which seals everything in. Then all the windows were sanded down and sealed with an external varnish.

There was much debate about the colour–different shades were tried–the first coat was actually quite yellow (Lesley not happy at the time). However the final colour came out well, and seems to combine with the chimney and steps, and now with the darker colour of the varnished windows. So Lesley is very happy now!

We do think it came out far better than we could have imagined. Among other things the design lines come out much more cleanly.  Anyway, see what you think–these are early morning pics, to bring out the colour best.

The Muntrie Harvest begins!

Here are some pictures of our first real experiments with harvesting and processing Muntries. There’s pretty good coverage right across the two blocks, ripening at different times, from January through probably to May, depending on how much hot weather we get. Here are the picked berries–even though they were picked in the same general area you can see here that the two batches vary in ripeness:

 

Then they go through a dehydrator–this is just a kitchen design I bought on eBay, seems to do the job pretty well. We’re experimenting with it: working out how to make the drying process smooth as it seems to differ slightly through the vertical trays; and trying to work out how to tell when the berries are really dried, because any residual moisture will interfere with the next stages:

 

 

And here is the hand-grinder I also bought on eBay–it’s designed for nuts and berries so we’ll see how it works. The plan at this stage is to produce fine grounds whose use in different products can be explored.  Needless to say all of this a small-scale trial–if it works out it would all have to be scaled up.

 

 

And here’s the final (pre-processing) product–muntrie powder! It tastes very nice. It turned out that the hand grinder, although more picturesque, wasn’t as good as the electric coffee grinder, so for the time being that’s what we’ll use. The sealed bags of powder are in the fridge ready for the next stage.

Not bad, huh? A start, anyway.

I forgot the hand grinder pic! Here it is: